Minority-Focused Startup Accelerator Aims to Help Underrepresented Startups

Founder and CEO Benjamin Vann was motivated by the opportunity gap: "As of 2018, just 2 percent of minorities received venture capital funding and 2 percent of minorities were represented in the tech industry workforce,” he says. A Dallas Innovates series highlights startups in Impact Ventures' first spring program.

Impact Ventures, a Dallas-based nonprofit dedicated to creating diverse and inclusive tech ecosystems, launched the region’s first minority-focused startup accelerator program this spring.

The 12-week, mission-driven accelerator aims to assist the underrepresented startup community—women, minority, or social impact—looking to break into the tech industry. Founder and CEO Benjamin Vann was motivated by the opportunity gap: “As of 2018, just 2 percent of minorities received venture capital funding and 2 percent of minorities were represented in the tech industry workforce,” he says.

That’s where Impact Ventures comes in. Vann’s new accelerator is designed to train and equip underrepresented entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to better gain traction and raise funding for their startup. Each participant receives quality education, community, access to high-level mentorship, and more.

It’s a rigorous training and development program, but Vann made sure it was structured to fit both the full-time founder and the part-time “intra-preneur.” And despite launching during a global pandemic, the first cohort wrapped a few weeks ago with a successful startup showcase.

Over the next week, Dallas Innovates will be highlighting some of Impact Ventures’ Spring 2020 Fellows. The series begins with Dallas-based Exgratias, an all-inclusive financial platform with products tailored to the entertainment industry and focused on contractual workers.

Meet the startups

Dallas Innovates highlights a few of the startups in Impact Ventures’ spring cohort in our limited series.

Meet Exgratias, a Financial Platform for Entertainment Gig Workers
Exgratias is a first-of-its-kind financial platform for the entertainment industry that helps contractual workers get paid quickly and effortlessly.

Meet Education PowerED, an Online Marketplace of Culturally Responsive Teaching
Education PowerED is behind a fast-growing educational movement designed to energize educators, empower students, and eradicate educational inequity.

Meet HVACIntel, an IoT Platform That Helps Contractors Manage HVAC Installations
HVACIntel hopes to disrupt the legacy industry with its patented IoT platform that monitors HVAC systems, proactively detects operational issues, and prevents failures.

Meet Latinx Spaces, a Digital Publication Redefining Latinx Media
Latinx Spaces is at the intersection of art, culture, and politics. The digital media platform is dedicated to amplifying the voices of the Latinx movement—though anyone can consume the content.

Meet nVenue, a Sports Tech Startup That Wants to ‘Revolutionize the World of Fan-Engagement’
nVenue hopes to marry tech and sports in a way that enhances the game-watching experience. The Dallas-based startup has set out to open a new market of virtual fan-engagement.

Meet Red Plum, a Platform That Makes Building WordPress Sites Easier
Dallas-based Red Plum WP Builder makes the open-source content management system easy for designers and marketers so they can get back to making clients happy.

Meet One Stop Wellness, a Comprehensive Health Solution That Empowers Employees
The Dallas-based startup offers customizable programs that empower employees to improve their wellness behaviors while helping to reduce their company’s health insurance costs. In response to COVID-19, the team launched a risk mitigation tool for employers to remain compliant with OSHA guidelines.

Meet TopIt, a Social Platform for Communal Direct-Challenge Competitions
Dallas-based TopIt allows users to create customized challenges based on their interests and hobbies. A user can choose to post their own niche challenge from a variety of categories or join in on an active one.

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